Turning 60 has made me ponder the question of age……because I have had 60 birthdays now, and that seems like quite a lot!
When I was a child I had a party most years. The girls from my class were invited and they all came dressed in their party frocks. (I went to an all-girls school. The only boys were my brothers, and I am sure they wanted to be somewhere else. 😉 ) We played party games like musical chairs and pass the parcel, and ate cocktail franks, lemonade and cake. There were party hats, balloons and lolly bags to take home.
The parties changed when I was a teenager — but still no boys! One was a picnic up to the Dandenongs. The exciting feature was that we travelled there in the back of Dad’s truck. I think we were under strict instructions to stay sitting, but there were no seats or seatbelts. Imagine that these days!
At another party was a sleepover with a difference — the guests helped me paint my bedroom! And did an ace job. 😉
My parties tailed off after my 21st celebration, but I always got together with friends and family. I always felt surrounded by love and friendship. My 60th party was great. Indeed some of the guests from my childhood parties and my 21st were there last Sunday. How special is that?
When I was a child I had definite ideas of what 60 was like. When my Nana turned 60 she seemed so old. In fact, I remember thinking that I had to get everything done in my life by the time I turned 25. Beyond that it was to be all down hill! Now that I am 60 I don’t think it is old at all. That’s to be expected.
There is another aspect to it: Age has changed. When my Nana was 60 she faced different expectations about age. She dressed differently to younger people and was expected to behave in a more matronly way. There weren’t many options for retired people ~ bowls, the Elderly Citizens Clubs, Church activities, family and so on. Not that my Nana did any of these, as every day she went downstairs to help in my Dad’s business. ‘Mrs L’ was an important member of staff. But she did wear crimpolene dresses.
However, for many people, this was their life in retirement ~ until they reached the point where they had to either live with relatives or in an old persons’ home. There were very few interesting, stimulating retirement living options then.
So society changed and with it our expectations. Retirement has become an art form for us Baby Boomers. It is a time for us to do things that we couldn’t do when we worked full time. That’s another reason that 60 isn’t 60. I look at my fabulous friends who are passionate about making the world a better place, who travel the world, create art, read and write books, go to the gym and hike in Tasmania, sing in choirs, and of course, drink coffee. They are the role models for being 60 and beyond!
And is retirement another example of how the Baby Boomers have crested the wave of change. The retirement age in Australia will rise, pensions and access to health care will be cut, and the quality of life for retirees will drop.
But back to now…….I have no idea of what 60 is. Yes, I have had many birthdays, but I am the same person, with some modifications, as I was at 10, 17, 21 or 40. I do know that I love being 60, just like I have loved being every age. I have a life that I really enjoy. I have time to paint, I am involved in an interesting project, Beckler’s Botanical Bounty, I have discovered that I love to blog. My friends are interesting and excellent company. My family has always given me unconditional love and support and I love them to bits. And my Fella is my rock. What’s not to enjoy about a life that is so full?